Tortuga Music Fest Sees Surprise Songs, Pirates Flags + Turtle Curfew
Ft Lauderdale: With a sea turtle protection curfew of 9:30 on South Lauderdale Beach, Kenny Chesney rocked the Tortuga Music Festival like only he can. In addition to a packed house on-site, the public access was filled with thousands, people hung out of hotel and condo windows and over 60 boats anchored just off the coast for Chesney's two hour set as the sun disappeared.
"Looks like we've got us a navy," Chesney said after the concert. "If you're a No Shoes Nation, I guess you've got to have one! And man, were some of those boats pretty..."
Sailboats, row boats, yachts and cigarette boats were all bobbing a few hundred feet from the shore throughout the evening with their party lights blinking. The Coast Guard had a few boats in the water as well to maintain proper distance and decorum, but even they seemed to enjoy the show.
In addition to Hemingway's Whiskey's breezy "Goin' Coastal," Chesney broke out "Back Where I Come From" for the first time this tour. He brought out CMA Musician of the Year, Coral Reefer and top songwriter Mac McAnally to share versus on the song celebrating the simple pleasures of one's hometown. Chesney explained he bought McNally's album when it came out - and listened to the song driving all the way to Canada to see a girl.
Greeted with such enthusiasm, Chesney decided to pull out "Must Be Something I Missed," a song co-written with McAnally from his April 30 release Life on a Rock. With just an acoustic guitar, the Van Morrison-evoking song about perspective adjustment floated out over the crowd who fell silent to listen to the lyric.
"It's always hard to try out brand new music," explained the man who has had 24 #1s and sold over 30 million albums. "Then you're out on the beach, people are definitely in that vibe... But how often do I get to play with Mac? So when they were so receptive to the first song, I figured 'Let's go for it.' I couldn't believe how they really listened. It was great."
Chesney had guests Sammy Hagar, Grace Potter and Emeril LaGasse onstage with him at the Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama on Thursday night. . Beyond the #1 duet "You & Tequila," the band joined Hagar for "Rock Candy," "Finish What You Started" and "I Can't Drive 55."
"That's the point of all this stuff: music is about those moments you keep forever, about friends and having fun. If you want to talk about a perfect weekend, a perfect couple dates, it doesn't get much better than playing as the moon comes up on Fort Lauderdale beach, or getting to sing with people like Grace, Mac and Sammy."
With the No Shoes Nation Tour in full swing, the deeply personal Life On A Rock arriving April 30 and the insurrectionist "Pirate Flag" flying high in the Top 10, Chesney brings another summer to life. Just look for his Jolly Roger flying somewhere near you.